Sponsored by Microsoft Software and Systems Academy

Jeff Peterson served 20 years in the U.S. Navy — but he always mused about the idea of working in tech. The retired senior chief now works as a software engineer for Microsoft, supporting the front-end and back-end development of Microsoft Store for Business.

Before landing the gig, Jeff didn’t think his naval career had prepared him for his ideal job. As an electrician’s mate for a nuclear power program, he’d instead learned how to operate the reactors and generators to produce electrical power aboard ships. The role was a welcome challenge, but not as tech-based as he would have liked. So computer programming remained a hobby.

“My programming experience was entirely self-taught,” Jeff says. “I didn’t think I had the requisite knowledge to be able to get a job as a software engineer.”

But four years before his pending retirement, he began thinking about how to put his college degree to work in tech.

“By that point I knew I wanted to go into IT,” Jeff says. “So I started looking at possible jobs as an IT project or program manager, because those things were kind of like being a chief in the navy.”

When he first discovered Microsoft Software & Systems Academy (MSSA) and its cybersecurity administrator course in San Diego, California, he jumped at the opportunity.

After completing the MSSA program, Jeff earned a job offer from Microsoft and started working at their Redmond, Washington, headquarters. By commuting and working remotely, he sees his family in San Diego often, a boon compared to his time in the Navy.

“My life has changed pretty dramatically,” he says. “The MSSA program is a great way for our transitioning military members to move into a career that is challenging and rewarding.”

Check out the stories from these MSSA graduates to learn more about the program and how it can set you up for the next rewarding phase of your life:

Chetana Adhikari, Army veteran

Jovan Fitzgerald, Marine Corps veteran

Alexandria Lara, Air Force veteran

Your fast track to a career in tech